Education, Writing and diction

Neo-libs anyone?

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

In the study of journalism, English literature and law I came across a common thread, the ideal of precision in the use of language. One of my favorite scenes in Ulysses involves Dubliners in a pub arguing Shakespeare’s meanings as if the Bard were their writer—the truth is that the language is as much theirs as it is the language of London, New York or Kansas City. So I have a vested interest (as a labor relations manager I wore a three-piece suit) in the integrity of the language. And I tend to lecture people such as Bob Livingston on use of the term “liberal.”

The following comment made to Fox was “moderated” by disqus, the censor used by numerous sites including Fox. Since the Wall Street Journal is the jewel in Murdoch’s Crown, there is no need to subscribe to Fox for anything but entertainment news and Stossel

I am going to say something here that may upset a lot of people.  But I am educated in the classical liberal arts which include rhetoric, grammar, logic, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy and music.  I have studied Latin extensively.  The root of the term liberal is the same as the root of the term liberty.  Until we, as a people–not we as a State–stop using the term liberal interchangeably with the terms progressive and statist, we are allowing them to misuse the word they have appropriated.  FDR was not a liberal.  Harry Truman had some liberal tendencies as did JFK.  On the Supreme Court, Hugo Black had liberal tendencies and actually knew the Reconstruction Amendments were about individual rights.  William O Douglas and William J Brennan both believed in the power of government apart from limitations–that the Commerce Clause was that grant and that it superseded all amendments.  Both of the authors of the commerce clause (Hamilton and Madison) held the view that it was not a license to expand federal power, but a preventive of arbitrary and intrusive  state interference in the peaceful conduct of crossing state lines with goods.  


The word liber means free.  Anyone advocating that the constitution grants authoritarian or absolute power to the central government has no claim to that title.

The liberals of the late 18th Century were referred to as anti-federalists. We often refer to big government populists as “neo-conservatives.” Does this make post FDR statists “neo-liberals” or neolibs for short?



An educational challenge – history

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

Okay, we all know that Andrew Jackson sent Lord Packenham packing at New Orleans. And we have all been told it was irrelevant because the treaty had been signed.

But was it? A victory by Packenhams forces would have given King George control of one of the most important ports in North America.

I know that high school a students love challenges.  Here are issues to explore.

Several questions arise. Could Britain have formed an alliance with Texas and Mexico? Could this have split the United States at the Mississippi River? Would a British territory have impacted slavery in providing a quick and sure refuge? How long would it have been before the US mounted an attempt to retake the area?

And most important: Can you get a rise out of a high school history teacher with this speculation.

Certain rules need apply. You are limited to looking at it through the mindset of individuals of the time. In other words, you cannot create a fact situation that did not exist—such as the idea that the South was fighting to control the United States as in Kevin Willmott’s film, CSA, Confederate States of America. You need to explore Britain’s imperial policy, the ability of the United States having lost their National Army. Would Parliament support a new land based effort?

Compleat Idler, Preparedness

Idler’s tools — cutlery

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

I have more knives than I really need. But it is better to have it than to need it. I could get by with a paring or utility knife, an eight inch chef’s knife and a boning knife. Also in the block are a couple of bread knives, spare eight inch chef and utility, an Ontario scalper, a six inch chef’s knife, a ten inch butcher, a small oriental cleaver, my grandfather’s butchering cleaver and some steak knives. I have a fine steel. The pairing knife gets quit a bit of use for odd jobs. When I am doing serious cutting I use the chef’s knife and when I do cuts on chicken the boner works. For a good discussion get The Supper of the Lamb( I disagree with Fr Capon in Swiss Army knives but I had been looking at a Huntsman for belt carry.

This afternoon I was downstairs and need a knife—if there is anything in surplus downstairs besides multi-bit screwdrivers it is knives. I can wear a fifty year scout pin—I have knives, axes, saws. I trained leaders in woods tools. So I was in the one room where nothing is accessible and will not be until we relocate the shelving temporarily stored there. I reached into a box in the cupboard and snagged the handle of a Russell Green River skinning knife. Have I used it in the past year? No. Am I going to remainder it? No. Am I planning a hunting trip? No.

A knife is a tool and it may also hold memories. When my mother died I got all the cutlery that was left from my grandparents and my aunt. There is a ten inch butcher knife whose blade would not survive a coat of naval jelly and the handle has been cut down to fit my grandmother’s hands—not exactly a professional job. But with the rest it will go on to my son when I s0ould hold out one or two big roasts and have a feast of the three households on the property. And that knife would be out and doing most of the work. I vaguely remember my grandfather butchering a sheep or goat in the kitchen, but I was under five. We did butcher chickens up until 1954 when the City annexed the property and we had to give them up.

In 1954 my grandfather gave me a Plumb hand-axe. I was 10 and my kit now included a two-blade pen knife, a three blade Case stockman, a KampKing scout type knife and a Plumb hand-axe. The other term commonly used is hatchet which has bad connotations from the 19th Century tong wars in New York and San Francisco which are, according to Carl Glick in Shake Hands with the Dragon, based on occidental stereotypes rather than fact. The Norse referred to it as a hawk and that word entered and apparently left the English language with persons making handsaw into heron-shaw. The traders of Hudson’s Bay Company and similar trading companies used metal axes as trade goods. There were fancy ones which featured a smoking pipe opposite the cutting blade. It is known that the Tomahawk was carried by trappers and soldiers as well as native peoples. Somewhere downstairs I have what is called a Hudson Bay Axe with a head shaped more like a tomahawk blade than a Michigan blade which is standard for camp axes. As I have gotten older I have gotten away from the idea of a hand axe as that essential item in my woods tool box. I discovered the ¾ size axe seems to fit my arms and give me greater control over the tasks I am dealing with. I also tend to use a saw when dealing with limbs. And a ¾ size steel Estwing rides in my truck box.

The date 1954 in the above paragraph is important. I had turned 10 in 1953. I was trusted by my grandfather to use all the woods tools that now require certification in the scouting movement to even carry. One of the more insidious tendencies in our society is the infantilization of youth. Think about it.

As to safety, another matter comes up. The Scout Movement, at least in my own council, came up with a rule that prohibits the carry of fixed blade knives—for reasons of safety. A non-lockback folding knife will, unless properly used, close the sharp side of the blade on the hand of the user. So we recommend the lockback configuration. I have had lockbacks fail. I have had non-lockback folders fail in the spine. I’ll be specific on this latter point. One was a USGI Camillus. One was a Victorinox red scale. There were others, but they were cheap. The only fixed blade knife I had break on me was a “survival” knife with a hollow handle that had everything Rambo needed but his crossbow and blowdrier. The only problem was no tang.

So whether you are in the kitchen or the field, you may need cutlery. Treat tools as tools.

I would have loved a bayonet when I was digging cattail roots.

Education, Free Society

“But they are just children.”

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

“We must protect the children.” The abusers of that phrase are legion among the political class. The UN decries “child,” social workers break up families at will, progressive politicians brag about protecting children in the workplace.

“Who are the leaders in this troop?” I asked the assembled scouts who had removed their covers after I had pointed out that they were indoors, in formation and not under arms. And those who identified the scoutmaster and myself had not been paying attention during the time they had been in the troop. They elected their leaders and we adults have a function of supporting and training the leadership (as well as assuring that the coffee in the pot does not go to waste).

“But we’re just kids.”

“Cub scouts are children, Webelos scouts are in transition and Boy Scouts are what they called boys in the 19th Century.” The lecture poured out. In the Pony Express, the business plan was to hire orphans between 12 and 15. David Glasgow Farragut entered the Navy at 12. Guilbert du Motier aka the Marquis de Lafayette was commissioned a lieutenant at age 16. Audie Murphy was the most highly decorated American soldier in WWII—he was just shy of his eighteenth birthday when he was taken out of battle not to return. At Chapultapec 200 cadets with ages down to 13 engaged with the US Army.

Thomas Edison was publishing his own newspaper at age 13 and Ben Franklin ended his first attempt at a column at age 16 when his brother was jailed and he took the transfer of the printing company to him as a release from indenture—heading off for Philadelphia. In 1861 Col PGT Beauregard remembered los heroes ninos when he had his cadets from The Citadel man the artillery to force withdrawal from Fort Sumter.

My own great-grandfather, John William Ken(d)rick, entered the Navy at age 12 as an apprentice. It was not uncommon in the early 19th Century. During the Second Boer war, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell noted that the Boers used 11 to 16 year-old boys as scouts.

Under the old common law, those age 14-20 could contract and be emancipated from their parents. They were old enough to form criminal intent.

Modern child labor laws were created like retirement laws to remove individuals from the workforce. Compulsory education laws served the same purpose—the current graduation requirements from high school are similar to the rigor of eighth grade in the 1890s. In other words it is easier to foster dependency than to free up industry to create jobs.

Compleat Idler, Education

Idler’s kitchen — Cast Iron

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

I thought I should talk a little bit about my preference for cast iron cookware, aside from my conservative if it was good enough for my grandparents it is good enough for me tendency. There are many ways of cooking and I tend to go with my region—my childhood was in the high plains more or less and all but two years of my adult life has been in the Southwest economic region. Cast iron was a fact of life in my grandmother’s kitchen and I got her stockpot when my mom passed. I own a number of skillets and three Deutsch ovens. The star of the show is my No. 7 skillet (which has nothing to do with Jack Daniel’s distillery license) by Griswold Iron Works. This brand is supposedly big with Buckskinners and the company has ceased to exist. The big name right now is Lodge which has introduced a line of iron-lined ceramic cookware for ceramic top stoves which my wife likes.

The advantages of cast iron cookware are consistency of heating, heat retention, and a better non-stick surface than teflon. The disadvantages are weight, time taken in maintenance, and the fact that my wife loves her ceramic top stove. I got around the stove a couple ways. I used to keep a two burner propane stove on the kitchen porch and now I have a one burner propane stove that I use on the counter. I also use this for other plans because gas gives better control.

So why do I use utensils that I cannot throw in the dishwasher or soak in suds and rinse clean which require that I have an extra burner that sets off the smoke alarm occasionally. The answer is results. I can scramble eggs at a low temperature without having to switch burners. I do not have to grease the pan when I brown meat or fix hamburgers. When I do a shepherd’s pie or blue cornmeal tamales, I can stick the pan in the oven without the handle melting. And I do not need to worry about aluminum and its ill effect on food—iron is a nutrient.

I do have some advice for my fellow cast iron users. Avoid the Chinese utensils. They cost less and are sometimes lighter—you can find them in proprietary brands. But the metallurgy is suspect and the Chinese use surplus ship hulls and vehicle hulls as sources of iron. I do not trust the metal.

Bon appetit.

Education, Free Society

Forget November — Start Now

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

This was titled After November What?! The problem is that after the election lethargy sets in and everyone starts talking like the fan who calls into sportstalk radio after the BCS championship game to state that no wimpy SEC team that never played in Lincoln can call itself the National Champion. Everyone who has ever listened to sports talk radio understands this point. And there are thousands of fans that realize that bad calls happen and there is nothing that can take them back. They quietly wonder about next year and realize that there are five or six seniors for whom there will be no next year.

So every election night is like Super Sunday to the faithful—it just drags on like a game between two teams that have decent defense and no offense. And that is what makes it a spectator sport. Every election night, the losing side talks big about the next election. And a few make good on threats to move out of (city, county, state, country). And there will be a few for whom there will be no next time.

The reality of 2012 is that there are two major party candidates who are not defenders of the Republic. Romney does not understand and Obama is openly hostile. They believe in a system where they divide the spoils and they increase the influence of their respective parties. And they have a public that demands entitlements—yes, subsidies on agriculture, protective tariffs, and bailouts are all entitlements.

So I was writing this to talk about after November. What is going to happen? The party pros are going to be working on the next election, it’s the people who will be overjoyed or distraught. The pros are talking about marketing. What message needs to get out to win the election? How do they sideline the nuisances like Paul or Kucinich?

People are not going to be involved until they are needed—the strategy is to formulate the program and get people involved when there is work to be done. This is not a strategy—it is a habit. The establishment goes into sleep mode for three years, then expects to energize like Popeye slamming a spinach flavored AMP and take on the big boys.

Let’s look at it. The Democrats have been at this since Andrew Jackson lost the Presidency in the House of Representatives in 1824. Did he make a concession speech and go into Ostrich mode until September of 1828? No. He got off his duff and formed alliances. He wrote letters and met with leaders including Martin Van Buren who had organized Tammany Hall. 1828 was the year John Quincy Adams and the National Republicans went down in defeat. The main goals of Democrats are winning elections and governing. Since 1913 they have espoused a cogent progressive stance, and while out of power they still actively push their philosophy and agenda with a major consistency and do not sleep. In other words, campaign mode never ceases. And while they have been out of the White House more than in it since 1950 they have kept Congress with few exceptions.

The Republicans, on the other hand, have been in business since 1858 and, despite a run from 1861 to 1909 with two breaks for Grover Cleveland and one for Andrew Johnson, have been the minority party. If you look at American history, it is a hodge podge of defunct political parties—Federalist, National Republican, Populist, Progressive. The Republican Party may follow suit. The reason is that the Republicans eschew full-time politicians as a necessary evil. So the dilettante of the season with the program of the season is nominated—and surprise, it’s the nominee that the establishment wants except when there is a massive movement like Goldwater.

So how does the Liberty Movement take over a party. First, whether Obama or Romney wins in November the Republican establishment can best be described as moribund. It can hang on for one or two more elections, but it is looking back to the glory of Reagan without a sense of what Reagan was about. The Reagan years were not a significant dint in the march of Progressivism. What youth wants is a march to Freedom. And if they cannot get it, they will not put up with the Party, and the party that does not have youth has no future.

I am of two minds on Romney. He is a dilettante who has a feeling of entitlement because his father was denied the nomination. His idea of foreign policy is the PAX AMERICANA. He supports the policies of Bush and Obama regarding “the war on terror.” His campaign has resorted to dirty politics for the purpose of making the Convention in Tampa a coronation that will lead to the conquest of Obama. The only reasons I can cast a vote for Romney are: 1) He would appoint some fairly vanilla justices to the Supreme Court whereas without a Republican majority in the Senate and even then a lot of them roll with “history.” 2) He would wake up a substantial segment of the anti-war movement that sleeps while “the chosen one” occupies the house at the juncture of New York and Pennsylvania Avenues.

Remember that our goal is not putting Romney in the White House. While there is hope that he can be brought around—he had a “come to Jesus” moment at the NRA convention—he likely would continue on the path to implosion at a slightly smaller pace—it is even likely that he will serve only one term, leaving Obama out there plotting to pull a Grover Cleveland. The more likely scenario is that a popular Democratic Governor will emerge. Both parties look for the (con)man on the white horse. Our goal instead is to advance the cause of the liberty movement, to bring down the Imperial Presidency and to restore the Republic with its limits on power and its individual rights against the tyranny of the majority.

There is the alternative of a “third” party which has been defined as any party not Republican or Democrat. American history is littered with third parties. The key is to capture the Party without getting sucked in. This means going precinct by precinct, county by county, state by state. It is better done outside of an election year, but you need to start where you are. Remember, the socialists never sleep, the establishment never sleeps. Unless we can take back the Republic we might as well sleep through it and line up for goodies.


This will not be an easy battle. No political battle is. But what is the alternative?

The alternative is an evergrowing government surrendering the sovereignty of the American people to the a world government under the United Nations. And it has been politicians who have given over the sovereignty that is not theirs to give.

The alternative is a copy of an East Bloc “Peoples Democracy” where your papers are being asked for.

The alternative is a national police force where the crimes are interpretations of vague concepts.

The alternative is an isolated Presidency, unfettered by the law and advised by commissars.

The alternative is an education system where the learning and literature of the past is thrown in the fire for the latest fad from UNESCO

The alternative is that the next generation (yet unborn) will have no knowledge of our history.

The alternative is a catastrophic failure of all the systems of government with no clue what to do other than beg from the Chinese.

Do we want these alternatives?  Or do we want to spread the word, work for the future. Socialists believe in the inevitablity of their cause, that the end of history is the dictatorship of the proletariat. Long ago they abandoned the withering of the state—Marx was a crackpot; it was Lenin and Stalin who determined the course of history.

Are we ready to say no to that dialectic? Are we ready to say “YES” to the struggle for Liberty. And if we say “yes” are we ready for the long struggle that answer entails. Some of us will not see the end of the struggle, but it will require us to begin.

So start talking to friends. Get hold of Heinlein’s book Take Back Your Government—read it and share it. Work on issues as they come up.

And pray that the whole system does not implode.

Compleat Idler, Preparedness

Idler’s kitchen – cool weather

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

It is hard to believe that fall is coming. It used to mean training events, camporees, campouts. All of these equate to food. And in cooler weather, we need warmth which means fuel. Granola is criticized for the fats—the fats are what your engine burns to keep your body warm inside that super insulated parka you laid out the big bucks for.

But while granola or preferably GORP is good for snacking you need a good breakfast. While my camp coffee requires an EPA permit for disposal, it is not enough to really warm up. Next to dessert breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And here I am going to discuss two, if you have enough time, get a couple bowls of both before you head out on your “trail.” Both require cooking which tends to turn some people off—it is one of my few outdoor activities left.

First we make a pot of oatmeal. No, I do not mean one of those little pots that come in the one or two-person cookset from Scout supply or and outdoor or Chinese goods outlet. A note here: Aluminum burns and burns nasty. I still have an aluminum GI messkit and a couple small pots, but I prefer Lexan or enameled plates. I used to use my enameled canner but it has lost some of the enamel and I do not remember whether I pitched it or remembered to save it to sterilize topsoil. If your group gets up to twenty or larger, use a big stainless pot. This also doubles for boiling water in wine or beer making and deepfrying turkeys.

Ingredients: Water, butter, brown sugar, rolled oats, chopped or dehydrated fruit. Remember that you can add more water, but you cannot reduce it. Leftovers do not reheat.

Equipment: Gas burner or campfire. The way things are going I would use the gas burner for more control and less fire hazard. Pot, depending on size of group. Steel, long handled spoon which can be used to both stir and serve. A towel to wipe your hands on is essential unless you have no qualms about wiping your hands on your jeans.

Procedure: Bring water to a rolling boil. Toss in the rolled oats—the generic rolled oats are packaged differently, but they are the same thing. As the oats begin to form, throw in a couple sticks of butter and chase them with at least half a bag of brown sugar, keep stirring while someone else pours in the fruit. I like raisins and apples. And add your cinnamon at the end and stir it in. My friend an mentor Richard Branson (The design professor, not the millionaire) would throw in a bag of red hots. Buy your cinnamon in the restaurant size. You’ll use it up in a couple trips. I am not much on measurements but a carton of rolled oats will serve 8-12. A half a bag of brown sugar will be enough. If you have 30 or so you add more of everything.

A note on sugar: I am sensitive to this issue because my wife is diabetic and I have the tendency on both sides. I have also had campers who tend to hyperactivity—a lower amount of sugar beat Ritalin as a countermeasure. There is a substitute called Splenda(tm) which measures about the same. Avoid aspartame.

At home in the kitchen: Use quick cooking oats and small quantities. The amount of activity is somewhat less.

Now we’ve dealt with my grandmother’s idea of a breakfast—although she would have real problems with the way I do it. So let’s cut to the chase with what I have heard described as Mountain Man Breakfast, farmer’s breakfast, arterial pollution, death at Lauds, etc.

I know people who believe the ads that say a particular coat or outfit will keep you warm. I have never in my retail career made such a claim. Clothes are like shelter—they ideally hold the heat in (unlike Oklahoma City) but they cannot create heat. In cool, say 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit, weather you need both shelter and heat. The oven is within and the fuel is protein and fat. When you are working strenuously in the cooler weather, the fuel burns easily—if you are sedentary and working in a temperature controlled environment, this can lead to coronary artery disease, stroke and morbid obesity. (I have never figured out why people who tip-toe around the crimes of battery, rape etc with the term “abuse” will refer to people as “grossly obese” when the term “morbidly obese” is less judgmental and is, in fact, used in medical reports—I have read it in post-mortem reports.)

So here is my particular approach that I jokingly called Prelude to Angioplasty—Southwest Style.

Ingredients: Sausage, lard or butter, frozen hashbrowns or finely chopped potatoes, dehydrated or freshly chopped onions, eggs, frozen or canned corn, cheddar cheese, black pepper, ground Ancho or Chamallo pepper and salsa (chile).

Equipment: Dutch oven(s) or cast iron skillet, large stainless steel spoon for stirring and serving, spatula for stirring and browning the meat. Iron sheet or “Lewis and Clark” cooking stand to hold charcoal and prevent fire from spreading. Shovel to move coals. Dutch oven tool. A gas burner can be used but it is less impressive. If you have a crowd, you may need a couple or three ovens full. Ditto on the warnings about aluminum—yes, I have been present when an aluminum Dutch oven caught fire. Mixing dish big enough for a dozen or so eggs. Fork to whip eggs.

Procedures: On this one I could go into detail on shopping, but suffice to say that you will get plenty of grief at checkout. Cast iron can and should be pre-heated. For each 12 or 14 inch Dutch oven you should use at least one of those pound wrapped packs of mild sausage (you’ll take care of the spice with the pepper and salsa). You start by browning the sausage—in the old days this produced enough grease to brown the potatoes and onions. Do not brown onions first because the moisture will cool the oven and retard the cooking of sausage. While this is going on, someone needs to break and stir the eggs—about a dozen per oven. You’re now browning the potatoes. Fresh onions would go with the potatoes, but I prefer the dehydrated variety which get mixed in with the eggs. Also a dozen eggs would get about two tablespoons of pepper. When the potatoes are looking brown, add the eggs. The heat from the cooking food will cook the eggs and the corn which follows the eggs in. Cover and move some coals onto the top of the oven—this is why I use only cast iron. The lip was invented by Benjamin Franklin who appreciated the Deutsch oven though he fought to eradicate the language from Pennsylvania. Let this sit about five minutes and then remove the cover long enough to dump and stir in about a pound of grated cheese. Cover for a couple more minutes and remove from heat.

Serve with salsa on the side. Use salsa from the Southwest or Mexico or make your own. None of that stuff from New York City. If you feel a need for more carbs, you can serve it with tortillas or make up some fry-bread.

Bon-appetit. Cardiologists are listed in the yellow pages.

Education, Free Society

Demons under the bed

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.


Back in the 1950s, I remember the Civil Defense drills as we feared the Red Menace.  We also had a teacher who disappeared from the school after it was relayed to a parent that she was teaching socialism–she would have fit right in in NYC.  It became apparent that our air raid drills–get under the desk–were pretty ineffective.  I saw it boiled down to a simple formula we have all seen:  “In case of air raid, kneel under your desk, put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.”

We have real threats to our existence.  I watched in 1993 as the Kaw River played with the top of the dam in Lawrence as if it were Tinkertoys(tm).  China is not going to invade, but they are a superpower to be dealt with and they finance hot spots when it is in their interest to do so.  And back in 2011, Osama bin Laden’s folks shot their wad on the World Trade Center with assistance and planning from German professionals.  So we created the Quaeda threat to fill the place of the Soviet menace.  And we clamped down on the whole society–thus responding as a terrorist hopes the target nation responds.

In the search for threats (and therefore continued funding) the Department of Homeland Security has defined (with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center) domestic terrorism–we used to call it criminal syndicalism.  It has been around since the beginning of the Republic.  And it has been dealt with by law enforcement and state militias (see my piece on the well regulated militia…-of-definition).     

ABC has purchased a demonizing drama called Founding Fathers for release sometime this fall. As a drama it is one of those infiltrator-provocateur flicks in which the good guys (FBI) stop a plot by evil militiamen. It involves a Donnie Brasco character.

The film is roughly based on the Hutaree Militia case in Michigan and Indiana which involved an FBI “informant” and a group of millinialists who were armed. Informants for Federal agencies are low level criminals who are offered leniency for cooperation—which means bigger fish. If there are now bigger fish they go after a show. One problem with informants is that there is no such thing as a clean snitch and the informant’s testimony fell apart.

Filmmakers are not bound by rules of evidence, nor, for that matter, truth. Michael Moore has found the secret that if you are funny enough and outrageous in your approach it does not matter if you use facts. And the purpose of the story is to be compelling enough to demonize a certain group. At present the powers that be see a threat from the preparedness movement as an excuse for stricter controls on the population.

Neither the Aurora shooter nor the Phoenix shooter have been able to fit the propaganda needs of the Administration and the Hutaree were acquitted and the judge ordered their arms to be returned. This judge was less compliant with the power structure than the judge in the Davidian cases. That Judge initially dismissed the charges of use of weapons in commission of a federal crime, because the jury acquitted them of the two federal charges, which convictions were necessary element to the crime. The Clinton Justice Department convinced him otherwise.

So the movie has to be good. A demon is necessary to justify expenditures and expansions. The Department of Homeland Security is a program that was recommended after the 1993 after the truck bombing of the World Trade Center but did not get Congressional approval. It contains two constitutional agencies, Customs and the Border Patrol, and one constitutional uniformed service, the Coast Guard. These three agencies belong properly under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Treasury. The immigration services belong to State although they were for a time in Justice. Otherwise we had the Federal Emergency Management Agency, formerly in Agriculture, and the Transportation Security Administration, formerly handled by airports and airlines with private security.

From news reports on procurement DHS is planning a significant increase in law enforcement personnel. A major move to secure all movie theaters would mean more personnel. Customs and Border Patrol are out because of their missions. FEMA also is not appropriate. This leaves TSA. TSA, by the nature of its duties is not a law enforcement agency—many of its employees do not meet the standards required for employment as law enforcement officers. So a big threat will be required for deployment beyond the current mission. And the Administration is not above creating threats—they are currently attempting to destabilize governments in Syria and Iran having succeeded in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

A bit of history to executive histrionics: In the run up to World War I the Wilson Administration was provided an intercepted, and probably forged, document from from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman to the German Minister to Mexico, von Eckhardt. Said document was allegedly a proposal urging Mexico to make war on the United States. This was published by the Administration on March 1, 1917 to create popular support for US involvement in a European War. Further the sinking of and armed merchant vessel, the Lusitania, was broadly publicized as the sinking of a passenger ship. The German Navy had posted in the New York Times that the Lusitania was carrying munitions and was a “lawful target.”

Going back earlier, the explosion of a boiler on the battleship Maine was used to obtain a declaration of War on Spain in 1898. Acting Secretary of the Navy Roosevelt had already, without President McKinley’s knowledge or permission, dispatched Dewey to Manila. In other words Hearst, Pulitzer and Theodore Roosevelt plunged the United States into an unnecessary war. It was an extremely popular war, but unnecessary and quite possibly dangerous to the course of history.

Unless the film works, the only recourse of the Obama Administration is the only thing left is a 2011 report entitled Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States 1970 to 2008. This was done by a University of Maryland institute and published by the Department of Homeland Security (Science and Technology/Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division). The conclusion seems to be (this was more soporific than Marx’s Capital) that anyone with an agenda they feel passionately about is a potential terrorist. There is a bow to the Intelligence Report of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an amalgam of reports on groups, some of which may be accurate. In other words, the planners are left to pick their targets.

And in that last statement may be the answer. Policy planners are trained to perceive all challenges to power as threats. And the decision makers regard the mandarins or at least those mandarins in power as being right. If this last statement sound a bit Chinese it is because the Mandarinism of Chinese rulers has transferred to the West. It is the same principle.

So what George Mason considered the proper defense of a free state (and has so worked in Switzerland for more than six centuries) is now a threat to a “democratic” society.


Compleat Idler, Education

U.S. Marshals – real versus reel

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

In a world of semi reality, I like to retreat to what Fran Striker called the days of yesteryear. when the action was on the silver screen.  And between the real and the movies is the U.S. Marshal.

Question 1: What famous Western lawman was killed in 1924 during an altercation with a Federal Agent.

Question 2: Name three Deputy U.S. Marshals who were present in Coffeyville, KS, the day the Daltons came to town.

Question 3: Besides Tilghman and Earp what member of Wyatt Earp’s Dodge City Police Department later became a Deputy U.S. Marshal.

Most of America’s consciousness of the U.S. Marshal has come from novels, movies and television where they swept into the small towns to fight corrupt local sheriff. And we know Matt Dillon who loomed ominous in the voice of William Conrad on radio and larger than life in the frame of James Arness on television. For those unacquainted there are episodes of Gunsmoke on the internet.

The vision is almost always positive—an affirmation that our federal government will protect us. The character of Rooster Gogburn, who played whichever side of the law was convenient, may be a little more accurate.

William Matthew Tilghman may be the straightest of the old west lawmen. As far as I can tell he did spend a night in jail, having been caught taking county records to the true county seat from the other true county seat back during the County Seat Wars in Kansas. He was the main inspiration for the character of Matt Dillon. At age 70 he was hired as marshal by the city of Cromwell, Oklahoma. He immediately offended Prohibition Bureau Agent Wiley Lynn who asked the sheriff not to sign Tilghman’s commission. Tilghman responded by getting his commission directly from the Governor. On the night of November 1, 1924, Tilghman was having coffee with some businessmen downtown when he heard shots being fired outside. Tilghman then went outside where Wiley was firing his weapon and staggering. Tilghman disarmed Wiley and was attempting to subdue the agent when Wiley put two bullets in Tilghman, Wiley was acquitted because he intimidated witnesses but lost his commission. He was killed in 1930 in an altercation with the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation.

When riders were seen coming up from South Coffeyville it was assumed that it was just another Marshal’s posse up from the Indian Territory. As they rode into town and parked their horses people were uneasy. When it started things got confused. Charles Connelly, the Town Marshal, was shot early on—reports are mixed as to whether he was even armed or returned fire. Most of the shooting was done by immigrant blacksmith John Kloehr with a rifle borrowed from the hardware store. When it was done four of the five robbers lay dead and the fifth lay seriously wounded. Connelly was not a deputy US Marshal—he was town marshal, high school teacher and truant officer. He seldom carried his breaktop, five-shot .32 revolver. The three Deputy US Marshals for the Indian Territory were Grat, Bob and Emmett Dalton—the District Judge in Wichita had not bothered to revoke their commissions.

William Barclay Masterson was called “Bat” because he had to use a cane because of a damaged pelvis from the Battle of Adobe Walls. A Canadian, with no documentation of naturalization that I have been able to find, Masterson moved from the Dodge City Police Department to the office of Sheriff of Ford County in November 1877. After a career as a lawman, he was a gambler, a hired gun for the Santa Fe in the Raton Pass dispute, a fight promoter, a sports writer and editor. In 1903 he was appointed Deputy US Marshal for the Southern District of New York (New York City). The Sullivan Law in New York cut into his practice of buying old guns in pawn shops, carving a few notches and then selling them as the gun he carried in his lawman career, His pal Damon Runyan used him as the model for Obadiah “The Sky” Masterson in The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown which was the basis for Guys and Dolls.

The United States Marshals have served the Federal Courts and the other branches of the Federal Government since 1789. But they were not the “saviors” the movies showed. In the area of general law enforcement, the states handled that before the Franklin Roosevelt administration. Up until 1896 the Marshals were paid fees by the courts for serving warrants and process and guarding prisoners. They also served process for banks with their fees set by courts.

But if you like B-westerns—I grew up going to the Gothic with my big sister on Saturday afternoon—you know about U.S. Marshals. They come into town, order sarsparilla, get into a fight with the town bully and get arrested. In the sheriff’s office, they identify themselves and talk about the rustlers—they always shoot for the gun hand which would make a low energy video game. And despite the wiles of the schoolmarm, they head for the next town when the banker is packed off to the state prison for running the rustling ring so he can foreclose on all the ranches (who does he think he is–FmHA).

“Out in the territories it was a U.S. Marshal and the smell of Gunsmoke.” Never mind that Dodge City was in the state of Kansas and the gambler named Holliday who built the rail head was called Colonel, not Doc. Never mind that from 1876 to 1882 the homicide rate (including police shootings) was 1.5 a year. Never mind that Dodge had a police department. And never mind that the cattle drives ended in 1882 when a standard gauge railroad provided a direct line to Kansas City from Fort Worth. Okay, for twenty years Matt Dillon was America’s marshal and averaged 13 lethal force incidents a year.

And Abilene had no shootings until they got proactive and hired a marshal. When the marshal was killed they recruited a gunfighter named JB Hickock. Hickock liked killing but was beginning to show signs of macular degeneration—he was fired after killing his own deputy. But then we remember Wild Bill Hickock and his sidekick Jingles riding around in buckskins as a US Marshal cum Knight Errant—sort of your freelance after school lawman. Of course JB Hickock wore a buckskin jacket over a fancy silk vest with a waist sash into which he stashed a brace of 1851 Colts in .36 caliber. (Take that, you cowboy action folk who insist on .44s and .45s.)

So the Marshal is in our psyche, along with the Texas Ranger and the Lone Ranger. And what the Marshals are doing now is the day-to-day court security, contracting transportation and confinement and cleaning up after other federal law enforcement agencies. Not real exciting stuff. I’ll probably get the new True Grit. I’m really behind though with a bunch of martial arts flix I have yet to see and I haven’t seen 3:10 to Yuma.